Jungle Perch

Was in Innisfail for a long weekend visiting friend’s of Claire’s. I got a chance to go fishing, unfortunately I had crippled my back and the idea of jumping into a boat and hunting for some massive barra was out the window. However we did some shore fishing and the target was jungle perch.

I had never really heard of jungle perch before, but apparently it’s quite a popular sportfish. It’s small and very hard to find. So we hit the light gear and went for a bit of a bushwalk. The first cast of the day netted my my first jungle perch.

Got three sooty grunter to back it up too. Aaron (from ACM Custom Rods) also got one, and three sooty grunter to back it up.

Was a bit of a shame to miss out on the planned session, but I got a few fish, remained uninjured and ready to fish another day.

Return to the Whitsundays

Day One – 13th of September
Up early (Andy, Judda and me) and out on the boat. Was destined for a good day for wind, but a lot of movement would make fishing difficult. We didn’t have any trouble bringing in some Indonesian Snapper between 30 and 35 cm. Nothing great but at least we were getting a feed. We also saw an adult whale fully jump out of water – never seen that in person before, it was great. Got a good feed but didn’t get that photo fish I was after.

Day two – 14th of September
Up early (Brigitte, Judda and me) again but had limited time. Once again just getting smaller fish, until suddenly I was on! The line was screaming and I thought I had a whopper. Hopefully something great and not a shark… Judda was sure it was a shark. It was neither though, a 60cm Trevelly. Good fun!

Not too long after Brigitte was on! I thought it was a Trevelly, Judda once again thought a shark. Both were wrong and she nailed an impressive 101cm Jewfish! A short sharp 3 hours on the water and a decent feed.

Day three and four – 15/16th of September
Did some land based fishing. Got one hit and no other action. I have previously done alright on flathead in that area. Nevertheless since I get flatties in Victoria I decided to hard on barra. Probably silly given I didn’t know what it was doing. But Airlie is very pretty so it was good fun nonetheless.

I loved it in Airlie. It has changed quite a bit, definitely busier. Still, I would jump at the chance to live there again. Then again, there are a lot of places around Australia that I could say that about!

Cape Conran – Boo the BOM

One of those trips.

Was supposed to be Wednesday Thursday. Next thing you know its Sunday and the weather says the only good days will be Monday Tuesday. I pack the car up and just before I leave the weather has changed again. Now Tuesday/Wednesday. So on Monday I drive 5 hours to cape conran… BOM update is issued 5pm Monday to say that there will be no fishing on Tuesday.

But come Tuesday, the weather is actually pretty good. Nevertheless the boat ramp is really prone to westerly wind and we aren’t going out. Instead we target bream and fail in the river. Quite annoying as we easily could have got a sunrise to 4pm fish in, when the wind hits. Or even midday you know?

The next day is 50/50 according to the BOM, but when we wake up there is zero chance of getting out. So I go back. My wife and future deckie are away so this is the only chance I’ve had in a while.

Ah well, nothing you can do about weather.

Caught:
Skipper: Nothing
Dad: Nothing
Me: One mullet


Got off the boat and tried the channel thinking some flatties might be about

 

One good story of the trip was seeing a seal pop his head up from about 1 metre of where a guy was hitching his jetski back up to his trailer. The seal watched him intently. When the guy realised there was a seal right next to him he got a big fright.

Cape Conran Again – Day Two

5am start again and it was the much the same theory as the day before. The gummy shark were not there again, so we went to the flathead spot. They weren’t there. What was there was a seal who decided to follow us around for a bit, before realising how useless we were.

The third place we tried yielded results all day. We had to leave at 1.30pm as we needed to drive back, yet we caught flathead after flathead after flathead. It was crazy. I got a gummy but we couldn’t keep it as “it still had afterbirth on it” (f- off, it wasn’t that small).

I would have won an award for the most varied catch, getting octopus, kalamari, the small gummy, gurnards, flying gurnards, and some barracuda.


The best flattie I have caught, there was no tape measure on the boat!


My calamari, along with the flying gurnard next to it. Flying gurnards are surprisingly nice to eat.

At some point the skipper nailed a large gummy, which was great to add to the flathead. When we left at 1.30pm we had 49 flathead, 3 flying gurnards, 1 gummy shark, and two calamari.

Caught:
Me: 15 odd flathead, 2 calamari, 2 flying gunards, variety of non-keepers
Dad: 15 odd flathead, 1 flying gurnard
Skipper: 20 odd flathead 1 good Gummy shark

All in all I have 22 vacuumed sealed fish packets in the fridge that will feed 2-3. So a very productive trip!

Cape Conran Again – Day One

5am start and we headed out to get some gummy sharks at the turn of the tide. Nearly as soon as we had dropped anchor the skipper pulled one up. However, from there on our it was slim pickings.

Soon we moved to the flathead spot and tried that for a bit. We got one or two, the highlight was the skipper pulling up an enormous flathead.

The skipper and my dad continued to pull up flathead. I wasn’t having a problem getting fishing – but they were nearly all gurnards. The other would get one or two, but for me it was nearly only that. We also got a few Morwong. I was getting frustrating I think the culmination was this bad boy:

Soon a seal came by to check our fish out. I finally hooked a flathead, and I was sure the seal was going to appear from nowhere. I kept my rod tip in the water, soon enough I got the flathead to where I could see it, and presto a massive brown shape charged at it. I launched the rod tip upwards and the seal only just missed by centremetres and it burst through the surface.

Interestingly, the skipper got a gurnard soon after that, and the seal swam straight to it, changed its mind, and just hung around. Not interested in the spikes I guess.

We hung around for the next change in tide, marking 13 hours on the water. I got back extremely knackered and was barely able to make it past 9pm. Of course I got to wake up and do it all again the next day.

Caught:
Me: 3 flathead, a couple of Morwong
Dad: 5-8 flathead
Skipper: Gummy shark, 7-10 flathead, a couple of Morwong

Story of the trip:
I thought I had seen idiocy before at the boat ramp. Nothing compared to what happened when we got back. There were spearfishermen and snorklers getting around the ramp and boating channel with no markings, nearly invisible. Kayakers were launching there. One launched and fell out of their kayak about 2 metres from a running prop (why wait until the boat is out of the water?). Someone drove their boat trailer directly onto rocks while he was going forward, he wasn’t even near the part where you need to start reversing.. and he struggled to get it off (and this is a guy the swimmers are trusting not to run over them!).